James Metcalfe - Executive Director of The North York Moors Trust at the Helmsley Headquarters

'Back From The Edge' - How A Key Partnership Is Making Real Change

Themes of endangerment, flight, and self-worth inspired by the plight of the Turtle Dove - explored through thoughts, lyric writing, rap, music, poetry and film-making.
August 10, 2023

In July, Mag North talked about an innovative conservation and community engagement partnership that’s currently one year into its four-year life – and is hosted by the North York Moors Trust. Birds on the Edge is a project pioneering new ways to engage young people with conservation via creativity.

After attending the celebration event (also in July) for one strand of the Birds on the Edge project – and hearing first-hand from the organisations, creative practitioners and the young people involved, it's clear that with this project (and others like it), there is a great deal of utterly vital and incredibly inspirational work going on, that perhaps don't always receive the recognition and wider-public understanding of the positive societal impact such initiatives have for us all.

Birds On The Edge Residential (Image: Stewart Baxter)

So, Mag North asked if we could come back and learn some more about the work, objectives and motivations from the key partners involved in Birds on the Edge – and they said yes.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be chatting with Creative Producer Shan Barker, from ARCADE, Hull-based musician, composer, youth worker and photographer Stewart Baxter – and Steve Arnott, the co-founder of Beats Bus. The three have worked with a wide range of arts, conservation and community professionals, to create and deliver a grass-roots programme, that should leave none of us in any doubt as to the essential need for ongoing commitment to developing cultural capital and community engagement.

But none of this life-changing stuff could happen without finance, vision and commitment – and James Metcalfe, Executive Director of the North York Moors Trust (another vital component of project), understands this. James’ commitment to the environment, to communities and to the North of England is rock-solid – both professionally and personally, so our first ‘Interview with Coffee’ (and Danish pastries) had to be with him at the Trust’s headquarters in Helmsley, where the organisation sits alongside – but separate to – the North York Moors National Park Authority.

The North York Moors Trust


Beats Bus

Hinterland Creative

Dubious video editing from Gabe Petch Creative